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College student visiting London

w
wherethetreefalls Mar 21, 2008 09:40 PM

Well, I know that this is probably one of the worst times to plan a vacation to London, and even worse being that I have the budget of a college student. I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions as to any good, cheap eats...i'll let you decide which adjective to use.
Plus, any suggestions as to any good eats near touristy places (museums and such)? The trip is going to be in mid-May, if that changes any suggestions...
Thanks in advance

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  1. h
    Harters Mar 22, 2008 01:21 AM

    You could do worse than checking out the board for posts by JFores. JF is an American currently studying in London and has a good grasp of cheap places - although I suspect even he will struggle to find really cheap eats round the touristy venues.

    I'm sure that you've already worked out that our capital is one of the most expensive places in the world to visit - even for us Brits who live elsewhere in the country.

    Good relatively cheap food is there to be had though.

    1. oonth Mar 22, 2008 03:03 AM

      You're going to have to box clever for sure but we'll try and get you back Stateside without your having to take out another college loan :-)

      Please can you give us a little more to work with - what types of cuisine are you into and what is your maximum spend per meal (with and without alcohol)? Also will you just be doing classic museum/landmark tourism or are you looking to stroll around different hoods and get a feel for the city that way? Oh and if you can mention a couple of your Manhattan faves, that will be helpful too.

      2 Replies
      1. re: oonth
        zuriga1 Mar 22, 2008 04:51 AM

        Just wondered how you knew this person is from Manhattan?

        1. re: zuriga1
          zuriga1 Mar 22, 2008 09:49 AM

          Never mind, oonth - answered my own question!

      2. h
        Harters Mar 22, 2008 08:56 AM

        Also, if this is your first trip to the UK, when you're working out total meal costs, bear in mind that our tax is already included in the menu price.

        Many restaurants will add a service charge (I think Americans call this an auto-gratuity) at around 12.5%. It'll be clearly shown on the menu and the bill if they do. No further tip is required. If it isnt shown, then a tip is usual - 10% will be absolutely fine.

        J

        1. moto Mar 22, 2008 03:19 PM

          greetings wherethetreefalls, we just got back from London. One place where we had a huge lunch with enough to take-away leftover was Maoz, a falafel specialist cafe on Old Compton St. in Soho. Not especially near museums but not far from the National Gallery to its south toward the river, or the British Museum minutes to the east and a little north. There are numerous extraordinary bookshops (new, discount, used, antiquarian) within minutes of the intersection of Charing Cross and Old Compton.

          For a bit under 5 GBP you get a full size pita w. fresh made to order falafels, plus excellent fresh made chips(remember what yanks call chips are called crisps in the UK, chips=frites) plus a drink which you can take in the form of a freshly squeezed orange juice (value in the U.S. about $2+ in a comparable cafe for just the juice). The deal is in the all-you-want salad bar, a big variety of immaculately fresh stuff inc. tabbouleh, marinated carrots and cauliflower, fresh salsas better than what most U.S. tacquerias offer, very good olives and so on. If you eat there, you stuff the salad fixins into the top of the pita, graze, go back and stuff more and continue.

          Of course if you look at it as a $10. falafel pita, it doesn't appear cheap. For perspective, I separate the cost (dollars with half the worth of pounds) versus value, and value is more reasonably assessed if you bear in mind London's rank in expensive metropoli, and the devaluation of our dollars a form of combined overconsumption and war taxes causing huge deficits/debts which weaken the dollar. So I'd look at a 5 GBP item more like $7-8. rather than 10, and consider, would that product be a good value in the U.S. at x?

          Drinking in pubs puts it in perspective--the chain type pubs will advertise 2 GBP for a Guiness (18 oz). At $4 not a big bargain, but $3 is happy-hour 'cheap'. We only drank the native real ales in pubs, which are drawn by hand pumps from cask, not pressurized kegs and have no foam 'head' as a consequence. 18 oz. of that quality of beverage can't compare to the $2. drafts back in the states. Most Samuel Smith pubs--and this brewery has bought and preserved several lovely, historic pub venues--sell pints of the house ales for under 2 GBP, and those are at the low end (a somewhat bland product in the range of ales you'll find, but far from its native habitat so allowances should be made). The pubs in fancier parts of town will get 3 GBP for a pint, and most places are between those extremes--this for a product not at all available in its fresh form in the states. Sorry if you don't imbibe.

          For a very wide variety of reasonably priced, hot, ethnic foods, go into the city for the Sunday markets at Spitalfields and the old Truman Brewery immediately adjacent. Many options incl. good Ethiopian and Caribbean. If you follow Brick Lane northward from there, there's an abundance of 'curry dives', none of which I've tried but not expensive from what I've heard, street vendors of used clothing and CDs and such, then two bagel (spelled beigel in London) shops within a block of each other.The one furthest north is called the Brick Lane Beigel Bake and is famous for *the* cheap salt beef ('corned' beef) sandwich (on a fresh beigel of course) of London. Hot mustard costs a few pence extra, the meat is of decent quality and generously portioned. The plain beigels are better than most you'll find in the states from any of the chains and go for 20 pence. This is a vestige of old East End London from what I understand, so I enjoyed the little extra excursion after the markets down the street. A classic local pub, Pride of Spitalfields, is open on Sundays (many pubs in the City of London aren't) just steps off of Brick Lane.

          If you wish to splurge on a more serious meal, check the promos on the Top Table online reservation website--we enjoyed an very good three-course prix fixe in a fairly luxurious place, Moti Mahal, for half price, 15 GBP rather than 30, for food you'd be pleased to get for the $30. (tax incl. as you've been advised) in the U.S. As a city steeped in commerce and completely immersed in the cyberage, London is perfect for you to research details and reviews of many eating and drinking establishment via the internet. Enjoy.

          5 Replies
          1. re: moto
            w
            wherethetreefalls Mar 22, 2008 06:51 PM

            lol I'm not from manhatten...i dunno where you guys got that from (maybe my posts????) but I'm pretty open to anything
            I would like to try some 'classic' english grub (or as classic as it will get)
            definately will want to get my fill of fish n chips while i'm there
            I guess my budget would be about $60 per day at most (for food) hopefully it'll boil down to about $40, but I know that even with this budget its very, very ideal
            I personally dont drink, but I know that my friends might have a pint
            harters: you definately answered the tipping/service charge questions thats been bugging me
            moto: thanks for the suggestions
            I'm planning on hitting up the Tate and Tate modern, probably a performance or two, and some of the markets...except for that, I dont have much yet

            1. re: wherethetreefalls
              h
              Harters Mar 23, 2008 05:59 AM

              You can get by on £20 ($40) a day. You could opt for a sandwich at lunch and then, say, a pub meal for dinner. Another option worth considering is having your main meal at lunch - restaurants often have "lunch specials" that might get you two or three courses for a much more reasonable price than in the evening. Try to stick to the $40 most days so that on others you can splurge more.

              "Classic" traditional Brit food can be a bit of an anachronism for us these days and you are more likely to find it in touristy (therefore expensive) places.

              Don't even think of having fish and chips in a pub - it is our original takeaway food. Best bought from a chippy and eaten straight from the paper walking home - but you'll find recs on the board for places that also have a cafe where you can eat.

              Sorry that I have no actual recs for you - I don't live in London and rarely visit. I do have great empathy with you in your search to stay on budget - the sterling/euro exchange rate has taken a big dive recently and it makes our trips to Europe expensive.

              John

              1. re: wherethetreefalls
                oonth Mar 23, 2008 07:27 AM

                My apologies for suggesting that you are from Manhattan, I got misled by your posting history.

                Here are some thoughts for value eating in London, not really tailored to sightseeing though:

                * Grilled chicken sandwiches of the ethnic variety should become your friend. You've got the chicken tikka roll at Tayyabs for £3.25, there's another Pakistani takeout place called Salwa on Crawford St (off Edgware Road) which also sells them (haven't been for a while so not sure on current price or quality) and you've got the Lebanese equivalent at numerous places including the Noura group (noura.co.uk) and Cafe du Liban on Edgware Road, should set you back around £4-5 with chips.

                * Cheap Japanese. Atari Ya cafe on James St does good quality cheap (under £10) plates of sushi and sashimi, it also does some cooked items I think. My favourite sushi bar in London is called Tomoe, 62 Marylebone Lane, if you go there at lunchtime, you can get quite a few £10 specials, it's very good quality and impressive value for money. Not far away on Wells Street is an izakaya called Soho Japan, they also do quite a few very worthwhile lunches in the £5-8 price range (sohojapan.co.uk).

                * Cheap and tasty lunch/breakfast. If you decide to do some neighbourhood wandering in the North London suburbs (the canals between Camden and Primrose Hills, the parks of Primrose Hill and Hampstead Heath, the "villages" in Primrose Hill, Belsize Park and Hampstead, you could grab either a crepe from the creperie on Hampstead High Street or a nice English breakfast from Cafe Bianca on Perrins Court, both under a fiver and tasty fare. More centrally, there's a place called Avellas Cafe on Mortimer Street, they used to do very good (and large) sausage and bacon rolls for around £3.50.

                * Tate Modern/St Pauls. I used to work near there, actually some pretty good options nearby. Birleys in Paternoster Sq does good grilled sandwiches at around the £5 mark, I used to like the chicken/mushroom and mozzarella/sunblush tomato options, they also have good daily specials from time to time. Ribon on Holborn Viaduct is a very impressive sushi/Japanese place catering largely for Japanese ex pats, daily lunch specials although probabaly slightly above the £10 mark. A bit further away you have a classic cafe called Beppes where they do jumbo sandwiches, made with affection, for under a fiver.

                * Camden Market/Lock Market/Stables Market. Again North London. Lots of eating stalls in these markets, not sure as to quality. There's a place called Sumsushi further up the hill between Chalk Farm and Belsize where you can get decent noodles and sushi rolls for normal prices, mainly takeout though (sumsushi.co.uk).

                Most of these are lunchtime suggestions and that's going to be your best bet for value eating. I'll let you know if more ideas come to mind.

                And I endorse any and all of the JFores recs even though I haven't tried all of the places he mentions.

                1. re: wherethetreefalls
                  Kake Mar 23, 2008 03:14 PM

                  It might be worth your while seeking out a proper greasy spoon cafe; you get both "cheap" and "very English" that way. Make sure to go somewhere that does black pudding, and don't forget to have a mug of ridiculously strong tea with five sugars in it, and peruse the complimentary copy of the Sun or Mirror while you're there. OK, I exaggerate slightly there, but it's as much about the ambience/culture as it is about the food, though be aware that the quality of the food varies a _lot_, and it's the kind of thing you either love or hate.

                  A map of possibilities is here — http://tinyurl.com/2qagyo — though note that those aren't all recommendations; read the entries themselves to see. http://russelldavies.typepad.com/eggb... is also a must-read.

                  1. re: Kake
                    h
                    Harters Mar 23, 2008 04:34 PM

                    Some good breakfast cafe reviews - and one of my favourite food blogs

                    http://londonreviewofbreakfasts.blogs...

              2. j
                JFores Mar 22, 2008 10:17 PM

                I just got in from an enormous Bengali wedding (day 2 of 3. So full.) and I'm in the States so I'll be brief with this. If you're doing the British Museum, then make sure to eat at either the Indian YMCA for lunch. It's very cheap and they do a solid fish curry. If you miss their lunch time then go down the block (near Natraj and that little strip of restaurants) to Italia Uno which is an excellent Italian sandwich shop that I live in. Yes, I basically live there. The bondola with artichokes is my favorite and they have porchetta atm, but it's not on the menu. Both will get you lunch for under 5 quid. If you want to see some of the more interesting parts of the city I think you might enjoy a trip to Brixton Market or Green St market. Though a bit far out, there's some really good cheap food near both. Green St Market is like a trip to Sylhet in Bangladesh and Brixton is like a trip to Jamaica (and West Africa and a few other places.) Definitely try one tourist market (ei. Camden or Portobello or Brick Lane) and one real market (Brixton or Green St) while you're in town. It's worth it. If you hit Green St market eat down the road at Baburchi or Thrill of the Grill across the street. The former is basically dinner for 7 quid a person, but if you want their Bengali specialties you have to show them what you want in the case or call ahead, otherwise they won't add it to the buffet (you're forced into the buffet now.) If you're near Brick Lane (and you will be) then Beigel Bake is an outrageously cheap and delicious way to fill up. Their bagels with herring or salt beef are awesome; rivaling all but the best NY bagels (their herring bagel is one of the things I miss from London food wise.) If you do the Imperial War Museum then travel over a bit more into Elephant and Castle or Southwark for very reasonably priced Colombian food. Check for previous posts on this. I cook basically every day so I can't be that much more of a help, but I'll keep thinking.

                1. limster Mar 23, 2008 05:57 AM

                  Look to buy yourself some bread and cheese -- it can be relatively economical -- and you'll get to sample raw milk cheeses are illegal in the US. Unfortunately, it's a little late in the season for vacherin du mont d'or, but look for brie de meaux or a camembert. La Fromagerie in Marylebone is not a bad place to buy cheese.

                  If you're in the Mayfair area (around Bond street and Oxford Street), drink tea at Postcard teas. Thoughtful selection and even with the current exchange rate, it can be cheaper than comparable places in the US at £1.50 per cup for something carefully brewed (more expensive stuff like gyokuro go for £2). Some less common teas on their current menu that are worth trying include an oolong for Darjeeling, a rose infused white tea and a korean nokcha. They sometimes have little batches of tea that they don't put on the menu. Ask if they have anything special.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: limster
                    j
                    JFores Mar 23, 2008 07:25 AM

                    I'm surprised I haven't seen this one recced before. I live right there so I'll check it out when I return.

                    1. re: limster
                      The Chowhound Team Mar 25, 2008 12:13 PM

                      Quick note to let you know that we split the cheese discussion to a thread of its own: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/502622

                    2. greedygirl Mar 25, 2008 01:39 AM

                      If you're going to do Tate Modern, go on a Friday and have lunch at Borough Market, which is a ten minute walk along the river (I'd avoid it on a Saturday as it is horrendously busy). The grilled chorizo sandwich and the raclette are probably the things to go for. You can also get lots of free stuff to sample just by wondering around the market. Make sure you have a peek inside Neal's Yard Dairy as well, which is on Park Street.

                      If you don't drink, you can definitely get some good lunches within your budget. Wild Honey in Mayfair does a set lunch for £15 (I think) which is pretty good value for Michelin-starred food. If you go to the Imperial War Museum, you might head over to Dragon Castle in Elephant and Castle, which is one of my favourite places for dim sum. (You'll also get to see a London's finest blighted urban landscape.)

                      1. l
                        Londoner27 Mar 25, 2008 02:42 AM

                        Near the Tate Modern: would second the suggestion of Borough Market. You are also near Baltic (not so cheap but fun) and the Anchor & Hope (great gastropub, mile-long queues).
                        Near the British Museum: Edokko and Ciao Bella. Or if you just want volume grub, the Hare & Tortoise (used to be somewhere random in Bloomsbury, think it's now moved to the Brunswick Centre) or Busaba Eatthai.
                        Near the Royal Academy: the Patisserie Valerie almost opposite for the most amazing cakes and pastries. (Haven't been into the new Laduree in the Burlington Arcade and it looks v pricey but great for those with a sweet tooth.)
                        Near the National Gallery: cheapish middle-Eastern-style wraps etc at Souk; amazingly cheap curry at the India Club on the Strand (second floor of the Continental Hotel).
                        Would second enthusiastically the set-menu lunches at nice restaurants idea. Arbutus in Soho (sister of Wild Honey) does a £15.50 set lunch, as does Galvin Bistrot de Luxe on Baker Street (lovely French brasserie-style grub). Andrew Edmunds in Soho is very good value by London standards.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Londoner27
                          j
                          JFores Mar 25, 2008 12:21 PM

                          I wouldn't go so far as to call the India Club's food amazing. Or very good for that matter.

                          1. re: JFores
                            l
                            Londoner27 Mar 25, 2008 03:46 PM

                            Ahem, "amazingly cheap"... Although actually I don't think it's half bad! Have eaten far worse at twice the price. And the atmosphere is fun if you're into lino and retro decor.

                        2. d
                          D Hound Mar 25, 2008 05:19 PM

                          For a college student visiting London, I recommend 1) Bosphorous and 2) Patogh in the Kensington and Edgware Road area, respectively.

                          Do a search of those two places in this board, and you'll find plenty of information.

                          Also worth visiting if in a tight budget: Four Seasons (mostly for roasted duck), and possibly Alounak (you can eat there for under 15 pounds). The same goes for Mohsen.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: D Hound
                            j
                            JFores Mar 26, 2008 08:35 AM

                            Ah! Mohsen! Mohsen's cheap. It is a little out of the way and in a very expensive part of town though.

                          2. misswills Mar 27, 2008 05:11 AM

                            Near Trafalgar Square/National Gallery/National Portrait Gallery/Leicester Square: Chinatown is a good bet for cheap and filling eating. There's lots of bakeries & snack shops within Chinatown if you want to grab a quick snack in between the museums. I prefer Haozhan, which is nice for slightly more upscale Chinese fusion. Tokyo Diner, while not the most amazing Japanese, does offer really good portions and reasonable prices. They're also open fairly late (11 pm, if I remember). Hit Cafe Vergnano on Charing Cross Road for very nice coffee. Or try Algerian Coffee Stores in Soho (take away only) for cheap and excellent coffee. I know these coffee suggestions sound silly, but it's hard to get a good, rich cup in London. If you're the type that doesn't see colors until you've had a morning cup, you'll need these places. :)

                            Near the British Museum: Abeno, for okonomiyaki or "Japanese pizza". You almost have to book ahead of time for this location because they get so busy. There's also a location close to Leicester Square which doesn't require bookings. Bi-Won for decent Korean. They do quite reasonably priced lunch specials. If you're hankering for proper fish and chips, there is a 'chippie' about 15 minutes' walk from the museum called Fryer's Delight on Theobald's Road. You can eat-in or have it take away ("to go"). There's also another place in the other direction (towards the universities) called North Sea. This is a sit-down place. My Old Dutch is a Dutch pancake house about 5 minutes from the BM. It's a bit campy, and not life changing, but it's fun. They serve HUGE pancakes, which can be shared by two moderately hungry people.

                            Also, remember that many places include gratuity in the bill. If not, a 10-13% tip is usually appropriate.

                            There are lots of convenience stores and corner shops around. These are great places to pick up water, fresh and dried fruit, nuts, crackers, and other snacks to keep you going throughout the day.

                            Lastly, if you're staying at a hostel, check to see if they have a guest kitchen. The cheapest way to get by in London is to cook yourself. So if they have a kitchen, use that opportunity pack your own lunches. Packing your own lunches also enables you to try all sorts of British goodies.

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: misswills
                              w
                              wherethetreefalls Apr 17, 2008 12:45 PM

                              An update on our travel situation:
                              So, it looks as if the number of people going has ballooned up to 6, so its going to be quite...interesting...to say the least
                              We're going to split our trip into two sections: one half for London and one half for Paris. Also, one of my friends (who goes to CIA) is joining us, so he's looking for one or two.. "moderately" priced restaurants (originally wanted to go to Gordon Ramsey's restaurant); So, i guess the circumstances have changed, the budget has gone up a bit, but the demographic has remained the same!

                              1. re: wherethetreefalls
                                i
                                Iestyn Morgan Apr 17, 2008 03:08 PM

                                Tayyabs is an absolute must do for good food on a budget, so I second that wholeheartedly. Its not ideally located, but actually its really not far from Tower Bridge, 10 mins by bus. Affordable even in the evening.

                                I like an indian called Sagar for a bargain £5 lunch, there's one off Tottenham Court Rd, on Percy St, so that very central.

                                Ethnic really is where its at for affordable in the UK, so yet another Indian recommendation would be the Bel Puri House on Drummond St, again affordable in the evening.

                                Fish & Chips is cheap relative to to ther meals- My favourite is Masters nr Waterloo, convenient for the London Eye, but also good is the Golden Hinde in Marlybone, convenient for Oxford St. Again, affordable either lunch or evening.

                                Dim Sum is a good lunch option, especially where there is a group of 6 as I find costs creep up to try different dishes not because you need the food so you will avoid that. The Royal China chain has several branches.

                                Toptable is a good idea for getting something more upmarket whilst staying close to budget if you can eat at off-peak times in the eve-ie before 7 or after 10.

                                As for the change in circumstances, when there's a group where one person has more cash/highend ambiition than the others, you need to compromise. Virtually all the top restaurants do a lunch deal, pick one, blow out, enjoy it. But eating high end or even mid at night will be massively over budget for the rest of you.

                                I would love to be corrected but i can't think of a single British or French restaurant, centrally located where you can eat well, in the evening, not at a weird time for less than £25 a head. I will be following this thread and hope to be proved wrong.

                                NB I shouldn't comment but feel obliged to point out- Sam Smith- gorgeous pubs, unbelievable cheap prices, pity the beer is rubbish. I don't see how you can make allowances, it doesn't mater what the beer tastes like in Yorkshire if you're drinking it in London. Stick to pride, available in Nicholson's pubs, who also have nice venues and only slightly higher prices.

                                1. re: Iestyn Morgan
                                  moto Apr 18, 2008 12:16 AM

                                  Sir Morgan, as a non-Brit I was admitting my ignorance of how good S.Smith's products might be, and did not wish to offend any folk from Yorkshire who might be fond of it. Also as a non-Brit I enjoyed dropping in on some of the historic pub venues run by Smith's, and I think it was clear it was far from my favorite drink. I'll keep your recommendation of the Nicholson's places in mind for our next visit--since we are tourists the venues are as important as the real ale. If you're referring to Fuller's Pride, I thought it was dependably good but I found other ales with more nuance and character; of course matters of taste can't really be sorted out and all that.... cheers

                                  1. re: moto
                                    i
                                    Iestyn Morgan Apr 18, 2008 06:44 AM

                                    No offence intended, so hope none caused, of course taste subjective but I don't think Sam Smiths would leave many visitors with a good impression of real ale. I agree to an extent about Pride there are more flavorful ales, but, it is dependable, representative, its a great session beer and crucially for this thread, pretty cheap in some historical and well located pubs.

                                    1. re: Iestyn Morgan
                                      moto Apr 20, 2008 11:41 AM

                                      Sir Morgan, which traditional pubs do you favor in the West End or City? Two of our favorites go back to the 16th century, tourists that we are, but they mainly have local trade and pour good pints.

                                      1. re: moto
                                        i
                                        Iestyn Morgan Apr 21, 2008 03:41 PM

                                        Firstly I had a thought to be useful on actual subject of thread- Gaby's on Charring Cross Rd. Very handy for all sorts of things- Trafalgar Sq, and therefore the National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery and all of the theatres. Salads are the thing, something like a fiver for a plate with several on. But salads in a middle eastern, varieties of beans and all delicious rather than in a tired lettuce way. Good and cheap for the location.

                                        Re the beer- I looked for a way to just instant message you Moto but couldn't work it out, so I apologise to everyone else- its a cliche, but for good beer and atmosphere I like seven stars behind the RCJ, also a cliche but the lamb on lamb's conduit street, also Lamb and Flag in covent garden. All have well kept beers- would love to hear your recs in west end/city as hopefully somewhere less obvious would be less crowded. I don't get the Sir thing.

                                        1. re: Iestyn Morgan
                                          Kake Apr 22, 2008 04:29 AM

                                          The Edgar Wallace near Temple Station has eight handpumps, most of which are used for guest ales (the two regulars are Adnams Bitter and the house beer, Edgar's Pale Ale). The food is on the "good" side of pub food and not overpriced. More details: http://london.randomness.org.uk/wiki....

                                          I think it's probably my favourite pub north of the river, at the moment.

                            2. bombaybeauty Apr 17, 2008 11:42 PM

                              One of the cheapest places I've eaten well in London is Italiano Coffee Company (on Goodge Street). Despite its name it is a pizzeria and sells you an individual pizza for 3.5 pounds. This is not the pizza that will make you cancel your trip to Naples. But it is above average. You would spend 10 pounds at most sit-down places in London to get a worse pizza. Keep this in mind when you're down to you last fiver. BB

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: bombaybeauty
                                j
                                JFores Apr 20, 2008 05:07 PM

                                This is an OK place for dirt cheap student eats, but the pizza there is much lower quality than any corner pizzeria almost anywhere in NYC and probably anywhere else in the US. I grew up in Bensonhurst and this place makes the pizzeria on my corner look amazing. The pizzeria on my corner was so bad that I walked 30 minutes for a different one. It is cheap though!

                                1. re: Harters
                                  greedygirl Apr 21, 2008 03:04 AM

                                  My local pizza place has just reopened with a real wood-burning oven in place. I can't wait to try it! It got a rave review in Time Out last week but unfortunately is only open at lunch times. Cheap too.

                                  http://www.timeout.com/london/restaur...

                                  1. re: JFores
                                    n
                                    Nii Apr 22, 2008 03:55 AM

                                    Anywhere in the U.S - what Papa Johns and Domino's? With the exception of DiFara's in NYC - I'm never really impressed with pizza in the states, maybe I need to try more places - I'd rather go to Italy or somewhere on the continent.

                                    C and R cafe in Chinatown does cheap Maylasian/Indonesian fare.
                                    4 Rupert court, W1B 6EB

                                    I think venturing outside of Central London will yield better results.

                                    1. re: Nii
                                      greedygirl Apr 22, 2008 05:03 AM

                                      JFores is fond of the sweeping statement - 'tis down to youth (nods sagely).

                                      1. re: greedygirl
                                        h
                                        Harters Apr 22, 2008 10:17 AM

                                        I've found the review that I did of the place in Williamsburg (this was in my pre-CH days, so it is on another site - a mainly hotels one that might *advise* you on your *trip*, so to speak). "Awful" is the word I used then as well.

                                      2. re: Nii
                                        j
                                        JFores Apr 22, 2008 04:08 PM

                                        I was just trying to get at how incredibly awful ICCO is. I see people talking about it so often, but it's watery, flavorless, and expensive. The bread is cardboard like and the sauce is a nasty sugar sweet (if it has taste at all on that given day.) This is coming from someone who unfortunately has to eat more ICCO than he would like.

                                        Di Fara, Totonno's, a variety of nabe places which include San Marco, L&B, Patsy's in East Harlem only, etc are amazing. Di Fara can hang with just about anything you'll find in Naples, but the others are admittedly down hilling and some are pretty much just American pizza. On the other hand, ICCO is neither American pizza nor Italian pizza nor some newly invented English pizza. It's just bad.

                                        1. re: JFores
                                          limster Apr 23, 2008 02:21 AM

                                          I wouldn't put DiFara's on par with the best ones I had in Naples. The quality of the sauce and mozzarella is just not the same.

                                      3. re: JFores
                                        t
                                        tktktk Nov 26, 2009 08:06 AM

                                        JFores, i have been reading all your comments and can see that not much pleases you in this life. It seems you are one of those people that enjoys insulting everyone elses pleasures in life. I recommend that you change your tastebuds as they are clearly OUT OF ORDER!!! I was a student at UCL for 4 years and i still come to ICCO pizza every couple of weeks with my friends and family. Nothing compares to this place for great value and tasy pizza. If you were wondering ICCO has won the best cheap eat of London since 2001 until now and in my mind that implies they are extremely good at what they do and have very few ppl like yourself trying to bring them down. For everyone else that is reading this ignore JFores as he clearly is living on a different planet. Long live ICCO

                                    2. Robin Joy Apr 21, 2008 01:21 AM

                                      In the little street (Irving St?) which runs down from the SE corner of Leicester Square to the National Portrait Gallery there is a Chinese place which has an all-you-can-eat deal advertised for about £8.00. In fact you will often see this kind of offer in pizza/pasta places in London, so a real fill-up is possible on few £. Pretty basic choices though, I expect.

                                      1. f
                                        foodnwine Apr 22, 2008 12:57 PM

                                        My wife and I were in London recently visiting our son and we had many delicious meals.Two places that I highly recommend are Delfino and Barrafina.Delfino has good pizza and pasta.Very reasonable prices.Nothing fancy decor wise,but comfortable. Barrafina was our favorite place.A small tapas restaurant,with 20 or so bar stools around a counter.The food was great.Everything we tried was delicious.As with any tapas place,how much you spend varies with your appetite.They don't take reservations and there can be long waits for a spot to open up but definitely worth looking into.Also the atmosphere is a lot of fun and very social.Can't recommend it enough.Delfino is in the Mayfair area and Barrafina is in Soho/West End.

                                        1. l
                                          Lilly08 Apr 23, 2008 10:54 AM

                                          ‘Ecco pizza joints [Ecco Holborn, 186 Drury Lane, WC2; Ecco Victoria, 40 Strutton Ground, SW1 are great for cheap pizza but they are lovely, really worth £5 ($9) esp if your a bit drunk. Also check out Stockpot on Old Compton St or on 40 Panton St. Good British food and great prices (£4-£6 mains) they even have Jello and ice cream!! You can also eat cheaply in a Weatherspoons pub, these are a chain of pubs and there loads in in london. The food isn't that bad depending on what you pick! Although the clientle might not be to your liking if its cheap food you want its not a bad choice

                                          For lunch its beat to stick the a sandwich unless you want hot food...there is a great noodle place called Ned Noodles in Waterloo...It would be good for late lunch and then you could have a light bite later...

                                          Happy eating!

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Lilly08
                                            n
                                            Nii Apr 23, 2008 11:46 AM

                                            Another good idea is street food - some of the best in London can be found at the Sunday Upmarket (it'll be a Saturday Upmarket soon as well). You can try Brazilian, Jamaican, Ethiopian, Vietnamese, Thai, Spanish. Further up Brick Lane (Bethnal Green end) where the market is situated are a couple of Indian street stalls.

                                            Broadway Market on a Saturday is also good. A bit more gourmet - Ghanaian (my fav), vegetarian Indian, cake stalls, sandwiches etc. All reasonably priced. However, I think Broadway is more expensive than the Upmarket.

                                          2. j
                                            JFores Apr 23, 2008 12:05 PM

                                            You'll probably end up on Brick Lane. Go to Gram Bangla. 99% of the places on that stretch are so bad that it's scary. Gram and Sabuj (RIP) are both very good. I like Gram better than Sabuj (RIP though.) It'll come to anywhere between 12 and 20 for two depending on how much you eat.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: JFores
                                              w
                                              wherethetreefalls May 7, 2008 08:21 AM

                                              Ok more of an update to my last update
                                              So, one and a half weeks before we ship out..busy busy
                                              Anyways, I think we are going to do Tate Modern and Borough Market on Friday
                                              By any chance, does anyone know when is the "best" time to go to each of these? especially the market
                                              um...I think we're going to roam around but i'll keep in mind Tayyabs
                                              Will not be able to make it to sunday market, we're going to maze
                                              And by monday, we're going to be shipped out to France.

                                              1. re: wherethetreefalls
                                                zuriga1 May 7, 2008 08:32 AM

                                                Borough opens at about 12 on Friday. It's very busy this time of year, so the earlier you get there the better to avoid the mob scene. I don't think it matters when you get to the Tate. Enjoy your trip!

                                                1. re: zuriga1
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                                                  DollyDagger May 7, 2008 08:57 AM

                                                  I agree about Borough, although I went at noon and found it was still busy with local office workers getting their lunch. Don't let the crowds put you off though, it's (almost) part of the fun.

                                                  The Tate is open until late on Friday and I used to love going in the early evening when the big tourist groups and school kids had gone home. It's more peaceful after 5pm and you can watch the sunset from the cafe if you like.

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